Russell A. Parsons
5775 US West Highway 10
Missoula, MT 59808
My current research concentrates on fuel/fire interactions in altered fuel conditions such as beetle kill fuels or other fuels affected by insects or pathogens, and fundamental fire dynamics, particularly with respect to the influence of fuel heterogeneity on fire behavior.
My research interests fall into four general categories: 1) fuel/fire interactions 2) fuel modeling 3) fuel dynamics and 4) fundamental fire behavior. My research integrates field work, laboratory studies, and simulation modeling, with an emphasis on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models.
Most people are familiar with the fire behavior triangle, in which fuel, weather and topography interact to influence fire behavior outcomes. Of these, the only part of the triangle that we can manipulate is fuels. My research is important because it provides fundamental understanding about how fuels influence fire behavior. My work offers managers quantitative guidance regarding how different fuel treatments might affect fire behavior, how fuel changes (such as pine beetle attacks) affect fire hazard and risk, and helps to elucidate the best solutions to the complex problems that fire and natural resource managers face in today's complex world.
Why This Research is Important
My past research has focused on characterising interactions of fire and vegetation at landscape scales over long time periods, primarily via simulation modeling. This big picture landscape perspective is useful as a context to the more detailed field, lab and simulation work I am currently involved in.
- University of California, Berkeley, BS Forestry, 1992
- University of Idaho, Moscow, MS , 1999
Featured Publications & Products
- Keane, Robert E.; Holsinger, Lisa; Parsons, Russell A. 2011. Evaluating indices that measure departure of current landscape composition from historical conditions.
- Keane, Robert E.; Parsons, Russell A. 2010. Restoring whitebark pine forests of the northern Rocky Mountains, USA.
- Keane, Robert E.; Parsons, Russell A. 2010. Management guide to ecosystem restoration treatments: Whitebark pine forests of the northern Rocky Mountains, U.S.A..
- Cary, Geoffrey J.; Flannigan, Mike D.; Keane, Robert E.; Bradstock, Ross A.; Davies, Ian D.; Lenihan, James M.; Li, Chao; Logan, Kimberley A.; Parsons, Russell A. 2009. Relative importance of fuel management, ignition management and weather for area burned: Evidence from five landscape-fire-succession models.
- Keane, Robert E.; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Parsons, Russell A.; Gray, Kathy. 2008. Climate change effects on historical range and variability of two large landscapes in western Montana, USA.
Publications & Products
- Flower, A.; Gavin, D. G.; Heyerdahl, E. K.; Parsons, R. A.; Cohn, G. M. 2014. Drought-triggered western spruce budworm outbreaks in the Interior Pacific Northwest: A multi-century dendrochronological record.
- Parsons, Russ; Jolly, Matt; Langowski, Paul; Matonis, Megan; Miller, Sue. 2014. Post-epidemic fire risk and behavior [Chapter 3].
- Cohn, Gregory M.; Parsons, Russell A.; Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Gavin, Daniel G.; Flower, Aquila. 2014. Simulated western spruce budworm defoliation reduces torching and crowning potential: A sensitivity analysis using a physics-based fire model.
- Keane, Robert E.; Cary, Geoffrey J.; Flannigan, Mike D.; Parsons, Russell A.; Davies, Ian D.; King, Karen J.; Li, Chao; Bradstock, Ross A.; Gill, Malcolm. 2013. Exploring the role of fire, succession, climate, and weather on landscape dynamics using comparative modeling.
- Hoffman, Chad M.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Morgan, Penelope; Mell, William Ruddy; Linn, Rodman; Stevens-Rumann, Camille; McMillin, Joel; Parsons, Russell; Maffei, Helen. 2013. Progress in understanding bark beetle effects on fire behavior using physics-based models.
- Hoffman, Chad M.; Morgan, Penelope; Mell, William; Parsons, Russell; Strand, Eva; Cook, Steve. 2013. Surface fire intensity influences simulated crown fire behavior in lodgepole pine forests with recent mountain pine beetle-caused tree mortality.
- Toney, Chris; Peterson, Birgit; Long, Don; Parsons, Russ; Cohn, Greg. 2012. Development and applications of the LANDFIRE forest structure layers.
- Jolly, W. Matt; Parsons, Russell; Varner, J. Morgan; Butler, Bret W.; Ryan, Kevin C.; Gucker, Corey L. 2012. Do mountain pine beetle outbreaks change the probability of active crown fire in lodgepole pine forests?.
- Contreras, Marco A.; Parsons, Russell A.; Chung, Woodam. 2012. Modeling tree-level fuel connectivity to evaluate the effectiveness of thinning treatments for reducing crown fire potential.
- Jolly, W. Matt; Parsons, Russell A.; Hadlow, Ann M.; Cohn, Greg M.; McAllister, Sara S.; Popp, John B.; Hubbard, Robert M.; Negron, Jose F. 2012. Relationships between moisture, chemistry, and ignition of Pinus contorta needles during the early stages of mountain pine beetle attack.
- Parsons, Russell A.; Mell, William E.; McCauley, Peter. 2011. Linking 3D spatial models of fuels and fire: Effects of spatial heterogeneity on fire behavior.
- Parsons, Russell A.; Sauer, Jeremy; Linn, Rodman R. 2010. Crown fuel spatial variability and predictability of fire spread.
- Parsons, Russell A.; Mell, William; McCauley, Peter. 2010. Modeling the spatial distribution of forest crown biomass and effects on fire behavior with FUEL3D and WFDS.
- Hoffman, Chad; Parsons, Russell; Morgan, Penny; Mell, Ruddy. 2010. Numerical simulation of crown fire hazard following bark beetle-caused mortality in lodgepole pine forests.
- Parsons, Russell A.; Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Keane, Robert E.; Dorner, Brigitte; Fall, Joseph. 2007. Assessing accuracy of point fire intervals across landscapes with simulation modelling.
- Steele-Feldman, Abran; Reinhardt, Elizabeth; Parsons, Russell A. 2006. Accuracy and precision of two indirect methods for estimating canopy fuels.
- Holsinger, Lisa; Keane, Robert E.; Parsons, Russell; Karau, Eva. 2006. Chapter 5 - Development of biophysical gradient layers for the LANDFIRE Prototype Project.
- Parsons, Russell A. 2006. FUEL3-D: A Spatially Explicit Fractal Fuel Distribution Model.
- Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Miller, Richard F.; Parsons, Russell A. 2006. History of fire and Douglas-fir establishment in a savanna and sagebrush-grassland mosaic, southwestern Montana, USA.
- Keane, Robert E.; Rollins, Matthew G.; McNicoll, Cecilia H.; Parsons, Russell A. 2002. Integrating ecosystem sampling, gradient modeling, remote sensing, and ecosystem simulation to create spatially explicit landscape inventories.